Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jack Kerouac Super Bowl Trivia

I'm not a football fan, but I'll watch the Super Bowl today. It's an excuse to eat a bunch of junk food, the commercials are sometimes entertaining, and I must admit that a close game can be enjoyable. Plus, today features a team from my home state: Pennsylvania. Go Steelers!

Could Jack have seen a Super Bowl? The answer is "yes," but it's complicated. I'll tell you why.

The Super Bowl began in 1967 - Jack was still alive - as the "NFL-AFL World Championship Game." Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt thought up the name "Super Bowl" as a stop-gap name, but a better one didn't come along and the name "Super Bowl" didn't become "official" until 1969.

So in January 1967, Jack may have seen the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. It wasn't officially called the Super Bowl yet, but it's still considered the first Super Bowl.

He might have also seen "Super Bowl II" (although it wasn't called that yet), when the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

Indeed, Jack may have seen the first "official" Super Bowl on January 12, 1969, when Hollywood Joe Namath took the New York Jets to a 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts for the AFL's first Super Bowl victory.

I remember watching all three of those games (at age 11, 12, and 13), maybe at the same time as Jack. I'd need to dig through some biographies and letters to see what he was doing at any of those times.

Jack died October 21, 1969, so he missed Super Bowl IV, when the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in January 1970. I was 14.

I don't know if Jack was a football fan as an adult, but he had been a star player in his youth, even getting a scholarship to Columbia to play football. He sure loved baseball, though, writing about it in his novels, so I can imagine him watching a big football game. Plus he hung out in bars, and the game would have likely been on in any respectable tavern.

Speaking of respectable taverns, Crystal and I have numbers in the Super Bowl pool at The Depot in Gardiner. We both have 3 for the Cardinals. She has 5 for Pittsburgh and I have 6. Big bucks loom. Let's hope there are a lot of field goals (3s and 6s).

Kickoff time is about 6:20 on the east coast. You know what I'll be doing . . . .

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